By Jill Winsor
There’s a proverb: “When you are through improving…. you are through.”
At NP, we’re on a constant journey to improve, especially when it comes to serving our partners. Right afterward, we felt the 2015 RE:Conference, which took place on Oct. 29 and 30 in Salem, was a big success. But we asked our attendees what they thought in a post-conference survey to make sure our instincts were correct. 64 of them responded and we were happy that they confirmed our thoughts and challenged us to make next year even better.
One of the Best Conferences of the Year
79.66% of our survey respondents indicated that the RE:Conference was one of the best they attended all year (20.34% indicated it was the very best conference of the year).
Happy With Assets Day
- 97.62% of survey respondents rated the quality of the session speakers as “good” (47.62%) or “great” (50%).
- 95.24% of respondents rated the quality of the session content as “good” (50%) or “great” (45.24%).
The favorite session of Savings & Assets Day was Nanci Luna Jiménez’ session “No Recipes, Just Relationships: Looking Inward to Create More Just Programs for Oregon.
A close second was the Behavioral Economics session “How to Hijack Our Brains to Achieve Our Goals”
- 92.31% of respondents rated the breakfast plenary as “good” (41.03%) or “great” (51.28%).
- 92.31% of respondents rated the lunch plenary as “good” (28.21%) or “great” (64.1%).
- 87.1% of respondents indicated that a speaker (or speakers) made them think differently.
Comments throughout the survey for Savings & Assets Day indicated that people really enjoyed Nanci Luna Jiménez both during the breakfast plenary and during her breakout session. Kate Marshall was also adored. Several comments positively reflected on the Behavioral Economics session and indicated that the format was a nice breakaway from other “talking heads” sessions.
When asked what they would have liked to see in addition to the sessions and speakers provided, comments indicated the desire for more of a focus on working directly with clients and best practices for service provision. We may want to keep this in mind for next year – those who commented seem to indicate the desire for a more “practice” oriented conference (for Savings & Assets Day).
There was a note that the take-away gift should have been purchased from an IDA graduate – an idea I would like to explore for next year.
A Challenge for Equity Stands Out on Housing Day
- 96.97% of survey respondents rated the quality of the session speakers as “good” (75.76%) or “great” (21.21%).
- 87.88% of respondents rated the quality of the session content as “good” (69.7%) or “great” (18.18%).
The favorite Session of Housing Day was Housing First for Oregon. Strategic Communications and Advocacy was the second favorite by 1 vote.
- 74.2% of respondents rated the breakfast plenary as “good” (48.39%) or “great” (25.81%).
- A few respondents reflected disappointment in use of the same breakfast plenary format and exercises for both days of the conference.
- 80.65% of respondents rated the lunch plenary as “good” (48.39%) or “great” (32.26%).
- Many comments indicated an appreciation for Nichole Maher’s challenge.
- 75% of respondents indicated that a speaker (or speakers) made them think differently.
Comments throughout indicated that Michael Anderson was a hit and people would have liked to hear more from him. Nichole Maher’s challenge toward equity was (for the most part) well received. Two respondents were made either very uncomfortable or very upset by Nichole Maher’s comments. The Strategic Communications session received a few very positive comments.
There were several comments throughout that were critical of the structure of the sessions. We heard that there was too much content packed into too short of sessions, sessions were to general or “unfocused”, speakers were disjointed and not well connected, some presentations provided only 1 perspective (in particular – “Working Together to Meet Housing Needs” and “Removing Barriers to Improve Access to Housing Opportunity”).
When asked what they would have liked to see in addition to the material provided, respondents indicated a desire for “more organized presentations,” shorter breaks and more time for speakers with less material, more specifics and a higher level of content and more diversity from presenters (with a hope that this would increase the focus on equity within the material).
When asked what they might have left out of the program, a few respondents indicated the desire to not have to participate in an icebreaker first thing in the morning. We heard again the desire for less material. We also heard from one respondent that the material was too technical and “too much for bureaucrats.”
The IDA marketplace was well received, of respondents, 59.32% said it was “good” (30.51%) or “great” (28.81%) (38.98% of respondents did not attend).
People were very excited about the mix of vendors and the opportunity to connect with IDA graduates.
Save the Date: Nov. 14-16, 2016
You can check out the slides, handouts, photos and more on the conference web page. Also, mark your calendar for next year’s RE:Conference which will be held on Nov 14-16, 2016 at the Salem Convention Center.